Using wind power to generate energy
100 metres above our heads, the blades of ENGIE Electrabel’s wind turbines are generating electricity depending on the speed of the wind. The capacity of our onshore wind turbines varies from 2 to 3.5 MW. Together they are currently able to generate electricity equal to that consumed by 190,000 households. By 2020, we plan to have installed 500 MW onshore wind power capacity.
Onshore wind turbines:
In mid-2015, ENGIE Electrabel announced its ambition to increase its onshore wind power capacity to 400 MW by 2020. In April 2017, 311 MW were in service or under construction (41 wind farms, 147 wind turbines) and the project portfolio was full. We have therefore revised our ambitions upward. We want to reach the initial target of 400 MW by 2018 and exceed 500 MW by 2020. This wind capacity will represent an annual production of 1 billion kilowatt hours and will cover the consumption of 300,000 households. It will avoid the emission of 440,000 tons of CO2 per year.
For up-to-date information, visit our wind power blog.
Offshore wind turbines:
We have also set ourselves ambitious aims with regard to offshore wind power and hold a 35% stake in the Mermaid project (the consortium Otary holds the remaining 65%). The completion of this project poses a technical challenge requiring all of ENGIE Electrabel’s expertise. Commissioning is scheduled for 2020. It will generate enough electricity to cover the annual consumption of 286,000 households and will reduce CO2 emissions by 367,000 tonnes per year.
ENGIE Electrabel plans to use its future investments to retain its position as Belgium’s top producer of and investor in green energy and to lead the way in developing wind power. The development of wind power dovetails with its aim to strengthen a diverse energy mix.
Read our press file about our wind ambitions (in French)
Here you find a map with our wind farms
You are our partner
The cooperative Electrabel CoGreen gives residents the opportunity to invest in wind farms built in or close to their municipality.Website CoGreen
7 Greensky wind turbines located in Gingelom – along the Brussels-Liège E40 motorway and the Leuven-Liège train line – came on stream on Saturday, 24 October 2015. Thanks to them, every day 170 trains will be powered by the wind. Greensky is a partnership between Electrabel, Infrabel, the city of Sint-Truiden and IBE (the Brussels intermunicipal electricity company).Discover the construction of the Gingelom wind farm in images
Together with our clients
We assist companies with their projects to establish a wind energy production unit.Discover our offer
It's ENGIE Electrabel’s aim to forge sustainable public-private partnerships with local authorities. This partnership with the public sector strives to foster the development of new wind farms. With this in mind, three companies were created in 2015 to lend a new dynamic to wind power projects:
Encouraging residents to get involved
Engaging in open dialogue with residents is one of our priorities. The cooperative Electrabel CoGreen was created in 2013 with this in mind. It gives residents the opportunity to invest in wind farms built in or close to their municipality. As a result, residents make a tangible contribution to the fulfilment of Belgium’s aims for the generation of green energy while benefitting from the dividend paid out
Did you know: in 2013, 2015 and 2016, 1,583 people living close to wind farms became partners in wind farms via CoGreen. Investments totalled € 3,070,000.
Transform wind energy into electricity
3 to 4 years pass between the project study phase and the commissioning of a wind farm.Follow the progress of our projects on our wind blog
An offshore wind turbine placed in a favorable spot with a capacity of 2 MW can generate about 4,500 MWh of electricity a year. This corresponds to the annual consumption of about 1,300 households.Follow the progress of our projects on our wind blog
The average lifespan of a wind turbine is 20 years.Follow the progress of our projects on our wind blog
For wind turbines to generate electricity, there needs to be wind (the turbines only turn if the wind reaches a speed of 3 m/s and reach peak capacity at a speed of 12 m/s), but not too much! Should the wind speed exceed 25 m/s, the wind turbines are shut down for safety reasons. As such, the energy generated by wind turbines fluctuates considerably. Electrabel uses specialist software that incorporate meteorological data to best predict how much the turbines will generate. This software enables us to activate other sources of energy and other power plants if we need to.
How does it work?
Onshore wind turbine:
- The turbine’s capacity currently varies from 2 to 3.5 MW.
- On average, it generates 2,000 to 2,200 equivalent full power hours (approximately 25% of the time).
Offshore wind turbine:
- The space available offshore means that it is possible to build larger, more powerful wind turbines. The offshore industry focuses on offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 6 or 7 MW, the rotors of which may have a wingspan greater than 150 metres.
- Wind offshore is often stronger and more regular. A wind turbine yields on average 3,400 equivalent full power hours, with the best sites generating up to 4, 000 equivalent full power hours.
- The nacelle automatically turns the rotor with the blades in the direction of the wind.
- Every blade on an onshore wind turbine measures up to 45 metres. Those on offshore wind turbines may be up to 75 metres long.
- The hollow towers allow people to access the nacelle. A transformer is located at the foot of the tower – this ups the voltage of the current produced.
- While the wind moves the blades, the gearbox converts the low rotor rotation rate into a faster rotation rate of the generator.
- The generator transforms this kinetic energy into electricity.
Did you know: from 500 metres away, wind turbines are as quiet as a library.
Read more about wind in our brochure Green energy from wind (in French)